Preparing for the new fx-83/85: Tips and resources from an education expert - Casio Calculators

Preparing for the new fx-83/85: Tips and resources from an education expert

Nov 2023 Medium Read: 5 Min

Our entry-level scientific calculators – the fx-83GT CW and fx-85GT CW – have become common sights in classrooms across the country and invaluable tools for countless teachers.

We recently made some major improvements to these and other models in our ClassWiz range, including the introduction of a new interface with scrolling menus, a clearer display and a simplified key layout.

Change isn’t always easy, so it’s understandable that some teachers have reservations about getting used to these adjustments.

With that in mind, we wanted to share some resources and tips from an experienced education expert, specifically around how to manage this transition and get the best out of the upgraded ClassWiz series.

Here’s what Claire Clay – who has more than 25 years of classroom experience and is the Lead Practitioner for Maths at Ormiston Academies Trust – had to say.

Make the most of your year 7s

There are a couple of reasons why working closely with year 7 classes is a good idea as you make the transition to the new ClassWiz range.

Firstly, they’re often the best-equipped and therefore the most likely to come to school with a new fx-83GT or fx-85GT CW model in their bags. They could also be among the keenest to use the device, as it’s all part of the new adventure they’re embarking on in secondary education.

Secondly, using a scientific calculator with year 7s will involve doing a lot of work with basic functions and processes, which gives you the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of the device alongside your students.

You might even want to tell students you’re still getting to grips with it yourself, to create a sense of collaboration and shared exploration in the classroom.

Claire said: “I would be taking the calculator into every year 7 class and thinking: ‘How can I use it today?’ Then, as new keys and functions come up, we would learn it together.”

Crucially, focusing on scientific calculator use from year 7 is also highly beneficial for students, as it gives them plenty of time to get comfortable with the device before they move on to more advanced work later in their secondary education.

Give yourself time

Like any big change, switching to the updated fx-83/85GT CW ClassWiz might feel daunting at first. With a bit of time and practice, however, using the new features will soon feel like second nature, and the benefits will become clear.

We understand that teachers are extremely busy and your free time is precious, but any time you’re able to dedicate to using the new calculator will certainly pay off in the long run.

“I spent some time in my holiday before going back in September looking at the new ClassWiz, because my biggest fear was that I would be in the classroom, a child would ask me how to use the calculator and I wouldn’t know,” Claire said.

“My biggest piece of advice is: engage with it, have a go, it doesn’t matter if you get it wrong at first. It’s a tool that’s there to be used, so see what you can do with it. You’ll find that, the more you use it, the more you grow to like it.”

Claire also recommended taking a slow and steady approach, and not overloading yourself with information. Rather than trying to learn everything at once, just start using the calculator and exploring particular functions as you come across them.

Take advantage of free resources

If you can set aside some time to explore the new fx-83/85GT CW, you’ll find there are plenty of resources available to help you learn the calculator and start getting the best out of it.

Some of these come directly from Claire herself, so you can feel confident that they’re relevant to teachers and applicable in the classroom.

As she was familiarising herself with the calculator, Claire got into the habit of creating a clear and easily understandable information card for every task she completed.

She has now built up a library of more than 40 cards covering everything from basic key functions to solving quadratic equations. Many of the cards have accompanying videos and they’re all freely available to anyone who would like to use them on Google Drive. Take a look.

There is certainly demand out there for these sorts of resources. A tweet from Claire pointing people towards the cards received 42,000 impressions and 1,000 clicks on the Google Drive link.

Claire’s cards and videos are a fantastic way to follow her recommended approach of learning the new fx-83/85GT CW models through short, digestible snippets, rather than attempting to take in lots of information all at once.

If you would like to go into a bit more depth, you can visit Claire’s blog, where she has posted about topics including using the calculator’s digit separator, Ans key and Format key.

You can also access plenty of ClassWiz-specific resources from Casio, including webinars and videos summarising notable changes and functions in the new range.

We want to help teachers and schools in any way we can. If you have questions you can’t find the answers to, or specific needs that require more in-depth discussion, just contact us and we’ll do everything we can to help.